Black Belts

Master Rick Rando
Master Rick Rando is President and Owner of Kick Masters Karate, LLC in Frostburg, Maryland. A traditional taekwondo practitioner for the past 31 years, Rando owns one of the largest, open-space martial arts schools in the country. Master Rando began his karate training in 1988 and started instructing at the age of 14. In 1998, he earned disciple status, and became the system's 'head instructor' under founder Sensei Ronald W. Burner. In September of 2000, Master Rando became Co-Owner of Kick Masters and became one of the youngest, martial arts studio executives in the United States. In January of 2005, Master Rando became the sole owner and President of Kick Masters Karate, and three months later, was awarded the title of 'State Director' through the I.T.A (Independent Taekwondo Association). He is currently a 6th Degree Black Belt endorsed by martial arts legend, Grandmaster Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, and was just recently inducted into the United States Martial Artist Association Hall of Fame.

During his martial arts career, Rando has stayed quite active. He's graduated from Karate College in Radford, VA and from the Danny Lane's Superstars Karate Camp in Ripley, WV. Master Rando has trained at various martial arts seminars hosted by world martial arts champions such as Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, 5-time Olympic Judo Champion Mike Swain, Grandmaster John Pellegrini, Grandmaster Joe Lewis, Master Tom Callos, Master Dave Kovar, Grandmaster Femio Demura, UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, Grandmaster Ernie Reyes, Olympic Gold Medalist Herb Perez, and Jiu-jitsu Master Royce Gracie to name a few. A former member of the Stars and Stripes Demo Team, Master Rando himself has conducted thousands of demonstrations and martial arts programs in the local school system and in the business community. He's been the featured/keynote speaker at hundreds of events around the world (, with most notably being a regular presenter at the annual MASupershow in Las Vegas. More specifically, Master Rando has created and implemented several curriculums throughout the martial arts community including the 'Bully Busters Program' for victims in elementary school, the 'Little Dragons Program' for pre-schoolers, 'Leadership Training' for children with low levels of confidence, the 'Stranger Danger' Program, Corporate TEAM Building for business professionals, the 'Children's Summer Karate Camp', a martial arts unit through the Adventure Sports Program at Allegany High School, and has created a special Self-defense Curriculum for students with physical challenges. Featured in Black Belt Magazine (January 2011), Master Rando is currently a member of MAIA (the Martial Arts Industry Association) and has earned the 'Gold and Platinum Level Mark of Excellence Awards' by Century Martial Arts for the past ten consecutive years. An accomplished author, Master Rando has penned five cover articles featured in MASuccess Magazine and has appeared on the cover of both Allegany Magazine (May/June 2009) and MASuccess Magazine (December 2010). Earlier in his career, Rando was asked to represent the United States as a member of the National Junior Karate Team performing in Cuba. In 2004 and 2006 he was awarded the Dream Catcher Award through the Arc of Frederick for working with persons with disabilities, and in 2007, conducted two Tae Kwon Do Seminars/Demonstrations in the country of Thailand as part of a cultural enrichment program. Rando is also a graduate from the Disney Institute: Disney's Approach to Business Excellence Program.

Master Rando is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Frostburg State University where he has achieved a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Political Science, with a minor in Sociology. A member of the Phi Eta Sigma and the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Societies, Rando was a two-time Maryland House of Delegates Scholarship Award winner. As a college senior, he earned the first ever Maryland Sheriff's Institute Scholarship at FSU, earned the highest award in Criminal Justice at the Convocation Award Ceremony, and worked for Maryland State Senator John J. Hafer as a student intern. Additionally, Rando is a Board Member of the Vicki Via Dotson Leukemia Foundation, an honorary Fireman with the City of Frostburg, a former high school freshman basketball coach, an Eagle Scout, a former independent percussionist with a drumstick endorsement from world-renowned stick manufacturer Silverfox Percussion, a marathon runner, and is only one of three people from his Congressional District to earn the "Congressional Award" for community service. Most importantly, Master Rando is happily married to wife Julie, and father to his son Lawson and daughter Dylan.
Senior Instructor Mrs. Julie O'Connor
Mrs. Julie O'Connor, 2nd Degree Black Belt, has been training at Kick Masters Karate since 1992. She is currently our "Senior Black Belt" instructor of the traditional Tae Kwon Do classes under owner/proprietor 6th Dan Master Rick Rando. Mrs. O'Connor developed and instructs the system's Women's Self-defense Classes and is the founder of the cardio kick boxing program. She was selected as Kick Masters Black Belt of the Year in 2005, the system highest honor to be bestowed upon an Instructor. Since earning the rank of Black Belt, Mrs. O'Connor has extolled the virtues of martial arts in demonstration/presentations at several 'D.A.R.E.' (Student Drug Awareness) graduations as well as many self-defense demonstrations. She has also created and taught several after-school programs with a karate/fitness theme. Her latest new venture is running a pilot program to help people maintain and improve motor abilities who are dealing with Parkinson's Disease. She enjoys working with the kids' classes especially. "It's fantastic to watch the kids improve in character and strength through our system. It is tremendously satisfying work." Mrs. O'Connor is currently employed as a Chemist/Water Quality Analyst with the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Master Jared Lancaster
Master Jared Lancaster is a 5th Dan at Kick Masters Karate. At the age of four, Master Lancaster attended the 'Pee Wee' Classes, under then titled, Western Masters Karate System, instructed by Mr. Ronald Burner. He entered the Mainstream Program at age seven, and in 1998, Master Lancaster successfully passed the karate system's first ever Black Belt Board of Review. In May of the same year, he achieved the rank of Junior Black Belt. In 2003, he earned the rank of Adult Black Belt, earned the rank of 2nd Degree in 2006, 3rd Degree Black Belt in 2009, and in 2017 was awarded the rank of 4th Dan. Master Lancaster became only the third Black Belt in KMK history to earn the rank of 5th Dan and accompanying title of Master in 2018. He has attended four years of the MAIA Martial Arts Supershow in Las Vegas, Nevada and has trained with martial arts legends such as Grand Master Bill Wallace and Xtreme Martial Arts creator Mr. Mike Chat, as well as Mixed Martial Arts Master Royce Gracie, Matt Hughes, and Chuck Liddell. In October of 2007, Master Lancaster traveled to Thailand with Master Rando and conducted two Tae Kwon Do seminars in the city of Khon Khen and in the same year, he was awarded the Kick Masters Karate Black Belt of the Year. One of Kick Masters' best instructors, Master Lancaster currently assists with the Black/Brown Belt class, Teen/Adult and Sparring Classes. He has also assisted with extra activities within the system such as the Overnight Campout, Karate Boot Kamp, and the Black Belt Charity Auction.
Master Ethan DeVore
Master Ethan DeVore joined Kick Masters Karate in 1995. He trained diligently for four years and earned the rank of Junior Black Belt in September of 1999. A private student of Master Rick Rando, Ethan took a short leave of absence during high school to pursue other endeavors, earning several awards and accolades in varsity football, basketball, and track. Master DeVore returned to KMK in June of 2005, where he humbled himself and worked back through the ranks to regain Junior Black Belt status. On June 14, 2006 Master DeVore was promoted to Adult Black Belt. In 2008 Master DeVore was chosen as the Kick Masters 'Black Belt of the Year', the highest honor to be bestowed upon an instructor. The following year, on August 29, 2009, he earned his 2nd Degree Black Belt and received 'Disciple' status at KMK, a long-awaited step in his martial arts career. Master DeVore currently instructs Teen/Adult classes and helped to establish the quarterly Teen/Adult Intro class. He has been a "preferred" self-defense partner among students testing for Black Belt level, supervising and participating in over 30 Black Belt level self-defense demonstrations. In addition, Master DeVore has individually instructed scores of students through one-on-one private lessons. From 2006 through 2010 he assisted with the Summer Karate Kamps as well as the Overnight Kampout and TEAM Building Seminars. In addition, Master DeVore has headed the annual Black Friday Fun-Day and directed the fun at several Karate Birthday Parties. In 2014, he developed the popular Kick Masters University program and has been leading the semi-annual program ever since. Outside the dojo, Master DeVore earned numerous scholarships and awards including the Ralph Race Memorial Scholarship, Maryland House of Delegates Scholarship, and HOPE Scholarship while attending Frostburg State University. In 2006 he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences with a concentration in Secondary Education from Frostburg State University. In 2013 he graduated with a Master's Degree in Secondary Schools Administration and Supervision, also from FSU. "I enjoy training at Kick Masters to relax and relieve stress, while simultaneously improving my physical and mental condition. I believe my involvement with Kick Masters has improved my overall quality of life and I would not be where I am today without it." Master DeVore is currently the Coordinator of Alternative Education for Allegany County Public schools, after 10 years as a Social Studies teacher, assistant track coach, Debate Team Coordinator/Supervisor, and Chess Club Coordinator/Supervisor at Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, MD. He is currently a 5th Degree Adult Black Belt, and only one of three to hold the title "Master" at KMK.
Sensei Aleks Knepper
Sensei Aleks Knepper started her first Introductory class at Kick Masters in the year 2000. She earned her Junior Black Belt in 2008, and 2nd Degree Junior Black Belt in 2011. In 2012, she tested for the rank of Adult Black Belt at the 20 Year Anniversary celebration private event. As a sophomore in college, Sensei Knepper trained diligently and earned the rank of 2nd Degree Adult Black Belt in 2014. Almost exactly three years later in November 2017, she earned the rank of 3rd Dan and accompanying title of "Sensei," making her the first female in KMK history to do so. Sensei Knepper earned Black Belt of the Year award in 2012, the Fire Starter award in 2017, and has been a member of the ELITE Demo Team since 2017. She has worked with nearly every age group and class KMK offers throughout her tenure including Little Dragons, Mainstream classes, adults, Karate Kamps, private lessons, the Overnight Campout, Back Friday Fun Day, and is a Birthday Party expert. She has taught several Corporate Self-Defense seminars outside the studio as well. Sensei Knepper has competed in tournaments and won numerous first place trophies in Kata, Weaponry, and Open Divisions, and has also trained with martial arts legends including Grandmaster Bill "Superfoot" Wallace and Grandmaster Anthony Hockley. Outside the dojo, Sensei Knepper is a Mountain Ridge High School Alumni where she held a 4.2 GPA and was a 2013 Maryland State Track and Field Champion in the 4x800M Relay. She was the Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland in 2013, representing the state at the national level where she won a national interview award. She stays active in the community and state by speaking at various events and was featured in Allegany Magazine's "40 Under 40" in 2018. Sensei Knepper earned her bachelor's degree in Strategic Communication and Marketing from the University of South Alabama and most recently, her Master of Arts in Organizational Communication Management from The George Washington University. Currently residing in the Washington, D.C. area, Sensei Knepper travels back to the studio nearly every weekend to teach and continue to give back to the studio in any capacity she can, both via teaching classes and behind the scenes initiatives for the studio.
Sensei Jacob Wilson
Sensei Jacob Wilson began training at Kick Masters Karate in 2009. Working through the ranks, he earned his Junior Black Belt in 2012, becoming the fastest student at Kick Masters to earn his Junior Black Belt. Sensei Wilson earned his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Degree Junior Black Belts in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively. Just a few months later in 2015, he earned his Adult Black Belt and went on to earn his 2nd Dan in 2016. In August 2017, he became the youngest student in KMK history to earn the rank of 3rd Dan and the accompanying title of "Sensei". He currently instructs various classes ranging from Little Dragons to adult students. Sensei Wilson is skilled in many weapons and has helped with many weaponry and self-defense and demonstrations. Sensei Wilson was part of the Kick Masters DEMO Team from 2013-2015 and was a Captain for the 2015 team. In 2016, he was a Co-Founder of the Kick Masters ELITE Team and has been a member since. Sensei Wilson enjoys teaching private lessons, birthday parties, the Overnight Dojo Campout, karate camps, and various other events. Outside the studio, Sensei Wilson graduated high school as a straight 'A' student and currently attends Frostburg State University enrolled in the Health Science program, aiming to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. He played soccer for 12 years and ran track for 4 years as a pole vaulter. Sensei Wilson is currently training for his 4th Dan Adult Black Belt.
Sensei Stephen Jenkins
Stephen began his martial arts training in September of 2005 in the Little Dragons class. He moved to the mainstream class a year later and began progressing through the ranks towards Black Belt. He began taking private lessons with Master Rando in 2008 where he worked for many years trying to perfect his side kick, round-off, and many other skills, he spent nearly 3 years at 1st Kyu Brown Belt level and countless hours of training before earning his Junior Black Belt in October 2012, being the "greatest thing he's ever accomplished." Since then, he earned the rank of 2nd Degree Jr. Black Belt in 2013, and 3rd Degree Jr. Black Belt in 2014. Stephen made the leap from the junior ranks to adult ranks when he achieved first 1st Degree Adult Black Belt in May 2015, and 2nd Degree Adult Black Belt two years later in May 2017. Most recently, he earned the rank of 3rd Degree Adult Black Belt and the accompanying title of "Sensei" in July 2018. Stephen enjoys teaching the Black/Brown belt class, Little Dragons classes, and karate camps. Sensei Jenkins is also a participant in Master DeVore's Kick Masters University every year. Outside of the studio, Sensei Jenkins attends Frostburg State University where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. He also volunteers at his church and youth group. Sensei Jenkins firmly believes that "You can accomplish anything as long as you keep your eyes on the prize, and never give up."
Sensei Tyler Dolchan
Sensei Tyler Dolchan is a Third Dan Adult Black Belt at Kick Masters. He began his training in 2004 and is looking forward to continually advancing in rank. Sensei Dolchan instructs nearly every mainstream class throughout the week, several Little Dragons classes, and has taught scores of private students, lead karate camps, birthday parties, the Overnight Dojo Campout, and corporate self-defense seminars. Sensei Dolchan is the creator and Head Instructor of the studio's weaponry program and curriculum. He has been a coach of the DEMO Team for four years, and a member since the DEMO Team's inception in 2009. Most recently, Sensei Dolchan enrolled in the KMK Krav Maga program. Sensei Dolchan is a 2015 graduate with honors from Northern Garrett High School where he was the Tournament of Bands Chapter Champion Drum Major and Salutatorian with a GPA of 4.3 upon graduation. He has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Frostburg State University and was the faculty chosen speaker at commencement at his graduation in December of 2018. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma National Business Honor Society, a founding member of the FSU Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, and a five-time Dean's List Award recipient. Sensei Dolchan was featured in Allegany Magazine for the 2016 edition of "Allegany County's 15 Most Fascinating People" for his work at KMK and has been recognized in the community through various scholarships and awards such as the "Ronald Reagan Student Leader Award", the "Semper Fidelis" Award for Musical Excellence, Hickory Environmental Education Center (HEEC) Planetarium Scholarship, Merit Scholarship Award, the Jody Loudenslager Memorial Scholarship, and the Garrett Community Concert Band (GCCB) Scholarship. Sensei Dolchan earned Black Belt of the Year for 2016, and the Fire Starter Award in 2017.